How can I get women to join my campaign?


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I am running a west marches game, which means the game can consist of anywhere between 12 and 20 players who alternate in and out of sessions. Despite getting a large number of people interested, I'm having issues convincing my female friends to sign up to play. I would really enjoy the diversity of gender because I think generally women tend to be more focused on character development and interparty politics which would be a good counterweight to the more masculine murder-hoboism method of playing (although I'm a feminist and recognize that women too can be murder hobos.) I think of myself as pretty good at managing any sort of weirdness that might arise concerning sexual harassment between people or characters.

That all being said, what could I be doing wrong in this department? Any ideas? It's not like I don't have any female friends who would be interested in D&D/Pathfinder, I just seemingly can't grab their attention for this game.


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I'm not really familiar with West Marches - but the idea of a group of 12-20 people trying to play a role play game together seems insane to me...

Do you have female friends who have actually played Pen & Paper Table Top Role Playing Games?

Are your female friends also close friends with one another? If so, have you offered to run a dedicated campaign for just them? It could be a matter of not wanting to have to learn the game alongside more experienced players.

Honestly - you should just talk to them about it and ask them for their input. If you have already done this, and they have told you that they just aren't interested, then you are probably S.O.L.


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I think the first thing to understand is that women within the orbit of these sorts of hobbies are generally acutely aware that these hobbies can be extremely hostile to women, and that "hanging out with a dozen dudes you don't know" (particularly in a game structure where there are so many people that there's a risk of "whoever is the pushiest and loudest gets the most attention").

Which is to say that I enjoy tabletop games, and I play them with my friends, does not mean that I'm especially excited to play with a bunch of strangers, some of whom might be creeps.

So in order to try to attract any particular sort of person to your game, you might do well to also recruit their friends who they already trust and are accustomed to playing with. The more I am unfamiliar with at a table (and the more people I am unfamiliar with at the table) the less inclined I am to want to play in that game.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Instead of asking random people on the internet why your friends don't want to play that game, how about asking your friends?

My first clue is the fact that you stereotype women: "generally women tend to be more focused on character development and interparty politics". Don't you know these women well enough to know their individual playing style?

Personally, I don't want to play with a GM who assumes I play a certain way because of lady bits.

Secondly, you paint a pretty broad gender-stereotyping picture when you also claim that men " the more masculine murder-hoboism method of playing" I'd be surprised if all your male friends fit that stereotype, as well.

Third, you're asking the women to do all the emotional work to keep the group together: would be a good counterweight . If you want a counterweight to murder hobos, how about asking the men to change their playing style instead of asking the women to be responsible for the balancing act?

I don't know the ages of your friends. I'm hoping that you're using the term "girls" because everyone is quite young, perhaps in middle school? If not, then it sounds like you need to work on the emotional maturity of your whole party, not just get some "girls" to play because the boys can't manage that kind of stuff on their own.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ColbyMunro wrote:
That all being said, what could I be doing wrong in this department? Any ideas? It's not like I don't have any female friends who would be interested in D&D/Pathfinder, I just seemingly can't grab their attention for this game.

If it's this game in particular, that makes me suspect it might have something to do with the group dynamic. I completely agree with everything said by CrystalSeas above; in addition, the tone of your post gives off the impression that you're interested in bringing your female friends in not because of any individual qualities (e.g., "hey, it'd be fun to play Pathfinder with Julie because she's super creative!") but just because they're female. And while wanting to make your game friendlier toward women and increasing the gender balance at your table is a good goal, I know that I personally am not interested in playing in a group where I'm going to be seen as The/A Woman all the time. I just want to play Pathfinder without it being assumed I'm going to do certain things because I'm a "lady gamer."

You say you have female friends who are interested in Pathfinder. Ask them what they like in games. Ask them what things they avoid in a game or a group. Listen to their answers, without getting defensive.

Note: your mention of sexual harassment as a thing that "might arise" pings a red flag for me. It's a little unclear whether that's in-game or with other players. If the former, I'd personally find it tedious at best--it's something many women and girls have to deal with in their everyday lives enough without bringing it into what's supposed to be a fun game. If it's the latter...well, there's your problem right there.

2nding that if you're all adults (you might not be, in which case, never mind), using the term "girls" comes off as kind of condescending.

(Also, some of the most intense and dedicated character-driven RPers I know are dudes. Play style is really not something you can identify by someone's gender.)


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If you're looking for RP and political maneuvers, then encourage that in your current players, or seek players who're into that (note: that's not seeking women on the assumption they'll play like you want, but rather specifically seeking out people with the actual playstyle you're looking for, male or female).

Once you find someone who you think'll make a nice addition to the group, tailor an invite to them personally, if possible. If they're your friend, then hopefully you have some idea of how to make the game sound appealing to them.

Sovereign Court

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I'd try to hit up some local PFS. You are going to find women there used to playing with both men and sandbox/west marches style of play. Ask them how you would hook them into your game. Who knows, maybe you will even find a few new players for your homebrew.

The Exchange

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The chance to play romantic vampires brought a lot of female players to the tables in the nineties...
^^


ColbyMunro wrote:
I would really enjoy the diversity of gender because I think generally women tend to be more focused on character development and interparty politics which would be a good counterweight to the more masculine murder-hoboism method of playing (although I'm a feminist and recognize that women too can be murder hobos.)

Lol. so many lol.


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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
ColbyMunro wrote:
I would really enjoy the diversity of gender because I think generally women tend to be more focused on character development and interparty politics which would be a good counterweight to the more masculine murder-hoboism method of playing (although I'm a feminist and recognize that women too can be murder hobos.)
Lol. so many lol.

I mean, he's not inherently entirely wrong. It's obviously not true of all or necessarily even most groups. But at least in my group, the above mentioned trend holds roughly true (since it's a trend and not a universal truth, there are obviously outliers). Just because it's not a trend in your groups doesn't mean it isn't in others.


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I feel though, that "playing a game with a dozen weird strangers" is probably more likely to elicit a player to RP "murderous rage and aggression" than any other broad characterization.

Like Solveig Bonesnapper, Half-Orc Barbarian is going to be a lot safer to bring to that table than any character that requires some vulnerability to roleplay correctly.

But people deal with stuff in different ways.


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I'm laughing because he makes a sexist generalization about women, then men and then calls himself a feminist all in one sentence.

I think that thinking tasking women with trying to balance murder-hoboism would be in anyway an attractive prospect for said women is also quite funny.


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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

I'm laughing because he makes a sexist generalization about women, then men and then calls himself a feminist all in one sentence.

I think that thinking tasking women with trying to balance murder-hoboism would be in anyway an attractive prospect for said women is also quite funny.

Noticing trends and thinking people deserve equality are not mutually exclusive concepts. Also, assuming the trend is accurate for his group (again, it is for mine but I can't speak for his) then seeking out people who tend to play the desired playstyle is called balancing, not tasking. If someone asked me to play in a game because there was a demand for mechanical min-maxing (my main focus when playing), I fail to see how that's in any way a negative.


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So I tapped the original post on my phone before I went into class on four hours of sleep, so there's definitely not the level of subtlety I would usually convey around such an issue. If it came off as a little cringe, I'm sorry, but I would expect any post of this nature likely would. I probably could have mitigated that a little. First and most obviously there is some truth in what was said that I should talk to people individually, and for my close friends I absolutely will.

The west marches game is me drawing from a wider group of people than my core friend group which is where I'm having some issues, and have taken to advertising the campaign at school. My mythology professor even let me do an announcement in front of the class. I do have a single female friend interested, but I am worried about the whole "one girl sitting around a table with a bunch of dudes" vibe happening.

If I came across as stereotyping, that's a fair assessment. I was. I am primarily an individualist, which means I recognize that any person that belongs to any group can be totally unique from said group. I don't think it's unfair to assume things about larger populations. I know it's not the same, but I identify as genderfluid, so I think I can relate on some issues here?

My comment to player weirdness surrounding harassment is just a residual thought from Matt Colvilles videos in which he discussed a disgusting trend for male players to engage in sexual harassment or rape storylines when female players are at the table, and my original point was towards that possibility. Since I am playing with a number of strangers and new classmates, what I was trying to explain is if this crops up at all the player responsible would be gone from the table in an instant and a lightning bolt would crack down from the heavens and kill his character.

Maybe it's silly at all to think I can "market" my game to girls/women. Maybe it's the wrong motivation to try? Is it wrong to want a level of diversity in the game? I don't know. But if you guys have the answers, maybe it will help me understand what I'm doing wrong here.

Also: is "girl" actually offensive? I thought that was cool these days. (In my head it's more feminist to have a word that isn't derived from "male" or "man" like female or woman, but hey maybe i'm wrong.)

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I'm laughing because he makes a sexist generalization about women, then men and then calls himself a feminist all in one sentence.

Preferred pronouns are they/them. Thanks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What "trend"?

They're trying to get women to play based on assumptions on how they think they'll play.

Edit: edited wording. Also yes, calling grown women "girls" is insulting.


Rysky wrote:

What "trend"?

He's trying to get women to play based on assumptions on how he think they'll play.

Yeah... Maybe not the greatest look for me. I'd like to say that those assumptions were based on anecdotal experience, which is likely flawed in an objective "all women are like this" sense. My question still stands though, is there a way to do this right?


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ColbyMunro wrote:
Also: is "girl" actually offensive? I thought that was cool these days. (In my head it's more feminist to have a word that isn't derived from "male" or "man" like female or woman, but hey maybe i'm wrong.)

It's got similar problems as calling someone "boy" is that it's largely a diminutive and thus not generally appropriate, IMO. It's okay to call yourself that, or to talk about people you are already familiar with (e.g. "A night out with the boys/girls") but in general if you're talking about adult women you should just say "women" IMO. If you would describe your group as 4 men and 3 girls, despite them all being roughly the same age, there's an asymmetry in how you're according them status that is worth examining for your own benefit.

Don't call people "females", though, it makes you sound like a Ferengi.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
ColbyMunro wrote:
Also: is "girl" actually offensive? I thought that was cool these days. (In my head it's more feminist to have a word that isn't derived from "male" or "man" like female or woman, but hey maybe i'm wrong.)

It's got similar problems as calling someone "boy" is that it's largely a diminutive and thus not generally appropriate, IMO. It's okay to call yourself that, or to talk about people you are already familiar with (e.g. "A night out with the boys/girls") but in general if you're talking about adult women you should just say "women" IMO. If you would describe your group as 4 men and 3 girls, despite them all being roughly the same age, there's an asymmetry in how you're according them status that is worth examining for your own benefit.

Don't call people "females", though, it makes you sound like a Ferengi.

All right, apparently Supergirl lied to me. If you can't trust the CW, who can you turn to these days. I'm gonna go ahead and assume "Woms" is also off the table.


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Rysky wrote:

What "trend"?

He's trying to get women to play based on assumptions on how he think they'll play.

...or how he's observed them play. Like I said, it at the very least happens in my group. I don't have to make assumptions on how I think the women in my group will play, because they each have their tendencies. It just so happens that of the people in my group that focus on character development and intra-party relations, the women of the group do it more often than the men per capita.


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Captain Battletoad wrote:


Noticing trends and thinking people deserve equality are not mutually exclusive concepts.

How can they be noticing a trend when they can't get women to play in their game? They're just assuming.

Quote:


Also, assuming the trend is accurate for his group (again, it is for mine but I can't speak for his) then seeking out people who tend to play the desired playstyle is called balancing, not tasking.

you can task someone with balancing your game, unless that person you're taking with doing that is the GM then that isn't actually their job.

Quote:


If someone asked me to play in a game because there was a demand for mechanical min-maxing (my main focus when playing), I fail to see how that's in any way a negative.

asked you to come play a game because they need someone like you to balance a party is quite different to trying to convince some people to come play the game in order that they may act is a way you're assuming they will based off their gender in order that may balance you're game is quite different.

I often fail to see my glasses in my room, doesn't mean they aren't there.

ColbyMunro wrote:


Maybe it's silly at all to think I can "market" my game to girls/women. Maybe it's the wrong motivation to try? Is it wrong to want a level of diversity in the game? I don't know.

Depends on the kind of diversity you want, if your trying to attract women so you can have women round the table simply so they are there I don't really see the point. If you think your female friends would enjoy it were you able to get them round the table, but are unlikely to do it without a reasonable female presence there then thats fair enough. If you have a murder hobo problem I don't think its fair to expect anyone to come in and try and play a roleplay sensitive character because they'll most likely be marginalized or over ruled. If your the DM you need to talk to your players about that being a problem not expect new players to fix it.

Quote:


Also: is "girl" actually offensive? I thought that was cool these days. (In my head it's more feminist to have a word that isn't derived from "male" or "man" like female or woman, but hey maybe i'm wrong.)

yep, unless they're actually girls. You wouldn't talk about adult men as boys.

Trying to take the words women and female out of the English language it the epitome of not picking your battles.

Quote:
Preferred pronouns are they/them. Thanks.

I apologize.


I made my post before his rebuttal was up there, which is why I was using my own group where I don't have to guess as an example. Also asking me to come to a game hoping I'll play the way I tend to play, and asking another group to come play because of an observed trend in their playstyle is not, in fact, very different.


ColbyMunro wrote:
All right, apparently Supergirl lied to me. If you can't trust the CW, who can you turn to these days. I'm gonna go ahead and assume "Woms" is also off the table.

The character's been called "Supergirl" since 1959, in the comic books originally she was about 16 years old in her own relativistic frame (so not an adult on earth, who knows about Krypton), but her alter ego went to high school.

For the TV series they aged her up so she can have a job so that the tension was "balancing work and superheroing" since I guess the CW was full up on teenager shows. They just couldn't change the name of the character for the TV show so they had to justify it somehow. It's fine for a thing to call yourself, but it's not really a great term for "unspecified adult women."

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed some joke/one-liners posts and replies and updated the thread title to replace "girls" with "women". Please keep any ongoing discussion in this thread to the topic at hand, remember that both men and women are not monolithic groups of people so be mindful of stereotypes or over-generalizing. This is an instance where you should be using the word "women" as opposed to "girls". If you feel the need to debate over semantics you need to take it to another thread.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ColbyMunro wrote:
My question still stands though, is there a way to do this right?

The way to do it right is not to focus on external criteria: are you also looking for religious balance? Racial balance? Any other kind of balance? Because if you are, you've got the same stereotype problem and if you aren't, why are you only focusing on gender?

If you want to include new people in your games, look around for

A) New people who already game, but don't play in your group.
Post in the Gamer Connection thread here, post notices at comic and gaming stores, ask your friends if they have friends who have expressed an interest. Check Warhorn for people who might be trying to get similar games going.

B) Old friends who don't already game.
Anyone ever expressed interest? Invite them to join you.

People you think might enjoy role-playing, but haven't expressed interest? Offer to run a couple newbie sessions for them so they can see if they like it. In fact, you might want to do this several times a year, just to get new players into the group.

People you don't already know, but would like to meet? Use gaming as small talk at networking events. Seek out diverse people to get to know based on whatever criteria you feel your friendship network needs: people who have religious differences, racial differences, skills differences, relationship differences, age* differences, etc.

C) Old friends who haven't seemed interested in this particular game?
Have lunch with them and ask about their gaming experiences and why this doesn't seem attractive.

Several reasons I wouldn't play:
I get overwhelmed in large groups. Getting to know 15-20 gamers would be overwhelming. I'm happy with a gaming group that has 8 or so regulars.

I game for fun, not to relive hassles that occur IRL. As Meraki said, it's not whether the GM can handle harassment, it's whether it even occurs. If someone already in the group has made me uncomfortable in the past, they don't get another chance to ruin an evening's fun. Too many other people putting together games where I'm comfortable.

(There's a gamer fallacy that women have to give male gamers more leeway for poor social calibration because we're all geeks in this together and it's somehow against the geek code to exclude someone who is already frequently excluded. Nope. Plenty of groups that don't have creepers. Not my job to train creepers not to creep. If you guys don't know how to get other guys to stop creeping, don't look to us to do it for you. Remove them before you invite us)

*Little known fact
People who started playing DnD at age 15 in the mid 70s are now in their 50s. If they were in their 30s at that time, then they're already in their 70s. Gary Gygax would be 79 if he were still alive.

Liberty's Edge

I found one article; woman dungeonmaster talking about playing with all women/mostly women groups and contrasting it against the typical "dude ranch" game lol.
I'd read it over, see what kinda game she's running, and see if you can do that. "If you build it they will come" kinda thing. Then talk about the kinda game you'd want to run so they know you're not running the typical dude ranch thing.

Liberty's Edge

Also read that Rat Queens comic and get a t shirt. It'll help your pr campaign.

Liberty's Edge

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I played with women before, but I'm not gonna talk about it here so a bunch of cool people can sift through all my words and find something to be offended over.


Increasing our RPG community's diversity and thus its appeal and player base is a good thing. My advice to the OP is to let prospective players know why, beyond their gender/race/age, he would like them to join in and why he thinks they would enjoy the game.

"Hey [friend/coworker/relative/fellow visitor to this geeky abode], I'd like to invite you to come play Pathfinder sometime. You seem to me to be a [creative/fun-loving/gamer/storytelling/rambunctious] sort of person, so I think you'd get a lot out of it, and I know I'd have fun showing it to you. I'm going to run a one shot adventure some evening coming up, so it's not a big time investment, and the other folks coming are a cool bunch. You should try it out, you might like it!"

Then lay We Be Goblins on them.

Liberty's Edge

Not interested in addressing how the question was asked, but just to address the actual question:

If you can convince one girl to attend, then it may be easier to recruit another. When I was juggling four in-person groups a few years ago, I found the groups I was in that had other women to be at least somewhat less tending towards the obscene comments and constant F-words, which was a factor for me.

However, there are many women who don't mind that stuff, or who are the instigators of it. I realize this. I just found it to be more comfortable when there was someone else, and behaviors that were turn-offs to me as an individual seemed to be less likely. I, personally, would be more likely to join an in-person group if there were another girl.


CrystalSeas wrote:
ColbyMunro wrote:
My question still stands though, is there a way to do this right?

The way to do it right is not to focus on external criteria: are you also looking for religious balance? Racial balance? Any other kind of balance? Because if you are, you've got the same stereotype problem and if you aren't, why are you only focusing on gender?

On this front I think I've done pretty well, but I could always do better. I agree with you.

Unlike with gender, I didn't focus on it and a bunch of interesting diverse people were intrigued enough to join my game and start creating characters. My campus is really pretty diverse both racially and economically, so that probably helped. But it's not like I was going out and intentionally collecting people of different backgrounds so I'd have a nice multicultural tabletop game. You're right, that would be pretty messed up if I had done that.

Why gender? Maybe its some sort of internalized self consciousness? I think I might be trying to rage against the stereotype that d&d/pathfinder is the fat boys in the basement eating doritos in a pretty ironic, and laughable way in retrospect. Theres also the thing I mentioned before, there is one woman in particular that wants to join but is worried she's going to be the only one. I want her to be comfortable too.


To follow up on what Zanbabe says, try inviting new gamers in pairs--sisters, buddies, whatever. People feel more comfortable going to a group activity if they know someone else who is going.


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@ ColbyMunro: Well, even with your supposed fixes, there's a lot more issues that need to be brought up. So, I'll try to keep it brief.

Problem #1 is you're trying to treat women differently from men in regards to playstyles and interactivity. Gender shouldn't matter when it comes to attracting players to a game, and if it does, then quite frankly that raises a red flag (or multiple red flags) for any players that you're wanting to bring on board, because being sexist (even inadvertently) isn't particularly helpful for you or them (the players, both potential and current), even if you have their best interests (as misguided or incorrect as they may be) at heart.

Problem #2 (as others have pointed out) is that you're asking the wrong people for enticing said feminine players to join your table. We're not the ones participating at your table, so asking us what you should do in order to garner another person's trust, especially when we have no history or connection with the potential players you're asking for, is grasping at straws.

Players are players are players. It's that simple. Being a woman, or a man, doesn't matter in this context, since both can be extremely effeminate or brutal, or a mix of these things, and since your main concern is "more roleplay, less rollplay" in regards to your assumed playstyle, the solution would be to find players that fit that niche, and they don't even necessarily have to be a woman (or a man). Heck, they could be both, neither, or even an outer-space alien, no gender required!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed posts and replies. Do not engage in debating other community members about their preferred pronouns on our site. And to reiterate my earlier comment, this thread is not the place to debate semantics.


Sara Marie wrote:
And to reiterate my earlier comment, this thread is not the place to debate semantics.

Can you repost this part to the Rules Question forums too?


A good idea.


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I've spent over two decades working in high tech, and will draw on that to suggest that the larger issue for you is going to be retention. Attract and join are trivial problems when compared to retain.

It all comes down to the environment. How people play, how they interact, what language they use, how respectful they are of each other, and in particular how the men in your group treat the women that come into it. This stuff really matters. A lot. A whole heck of a lot. The reason why the high tech industry has lousy 5-year retention rates for women is because the work environment is not particularly inclusive, and sometimes it is outright exclusive and hostile.

It's really easy for men to create an environment that women either do not feel a part of, or don't even feel comfortable in. Sometimes it's subtle exclusion caused by gender bias, other times it's microagressions such as women being cut off when they're talking, and of course there are the more overt and hostile situations such as men treating the gaming group as a personal dating site.

This stuff is hard to address in a group with changing membership. The best I can offer is, stay on top of it. Learn to recognize the signs of gender exclusion in the group and put a stop to it when you see it happening. Don't let small things fester. The small stuff really matters. Being worn down over time is an awful experience to live through.

Best wishes to you.

Sovereign Court

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The notion that women are there to "balance" a group into more RP-centric/less murder-hobo-y behavior comes from a subtle form of misogyny (curses!). It's probably not intentional, but I'll explain.

Our society has a stereotype of women as being "nurturers" because of the association with motherhood (and the historical push of women away from any role other than domesticity). This "nurturing" stereotype then gets turned into demands for unpaid emotional labor - e.g. women should be the ones to "take care" of people who are hurting; women need to be the peacemakers in family situations; women should deal with children's behavior problems; etc. The stereotype becomes an insistence that women have to deal with calming down people, or making people feel cared for, or soothing relations between people who dislike each other. The reality is, that is a job for everyone, but most especially for the people who have the problem in question. Folks shouldn't assume that it's women's job to do these kinds of tasks - and that includes tasks like mediating a group of murder-hobo PCs down to some level of reasonable behavior.

Additionally, there's the baked in assumption that "women play X way because that is what I have seen." But what you have seen will be strongly influenced by what your game expects. If you create the expectation that women in your game are there to deal with emotional/interpersonal problems, then you have implicitly told women who want to do different things that your game is not for them. You have selected out the women who want to play Red Sonja, or Morgana, or Wonder Woman, and told them that you expect them to play support roles rather than action roles or magical roles. They've been relegated to playing mom to a group of sociopathic ten-year-olds (that is, murder-hobos), rather than playing warriors or wizards or thieves. Ergo, of course you will never see a woman playing a warrior or wizard or thief! They're at someone else's game, playing what they want to play.

So! How to improve on this?

* Listen to what people want to play, then deliver that experience.
If you come in with the assumption that women need to be in your game to smooth out the crazy shenanigans of guys who just kill everything, then you've basically implicitly told women who might be interested in playing that their experience is pre-defined: They have this job to do on top of whatever they came to the table to do. And people come to games to get away from work, not to have extra work foisted off on them! If you want women to play in your game, let them play what they will enjoy within the boundaries of your setting, and don't put on them the expectation of managing your other players.

* YOU manage your players.
If your players are rampant murder-hobos, it's on you to make there be consequences for those actions, if you think they are important. Are they all chaotic evil? Are they hunted by the law of the land? Are they run out of town, not allowed to buy or trade because they are wanted criminals? What's actually important to them? Is there anyone they care about? If you don't want them to murder-hobo, then you must create dilemmas where murder-hobo-ing will not get them what they want. For instance, the local town council is going to hold a vote on whether to do (X thing) that the players think is a good idea. But some of the town elders are hold-outs and refuse to vote for it. This doesn't make them villains, and killing them won't solve the problem - the players have to find some way to convince them to change their minds, preferably by means other than murder-hobo-ing.

* Create a safe environment at your table.
This is socially hard but you HAVE to do it. Women in our society face disproportionate harassment, especially sexual harassment, from men. (It can go the other way, but overwhelmingly it's men harassing women that happens.) So you need to cut that sh!t off at the root. Dudes should not be creeping on women, making lewd jokes, saying "let's have our characters get it on," or threatening to rape female PCs. If you are the DM or the organizer, it's up to you to police that - you are the guide for your game group's table culture. You have to set down the law and say "This is not acceptable behavior and if you don't stop, you will be told not to play." Maybe you're lucky and the dudes at your table don't do that kind of crap, but that's uncommon in our hobby.
If your old gaming buddy is constantly making women uncomfortable by making sex jokes at them... maybe your buddy is kind of a jerk.

Anyway, I hope this is useful to you.


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To share my two copper:

I GM a home Pathfinder game. The table's been going each week for about two years now. Right now, we've got four men and two women, including myself.

By and large, we're invitation only. Word of mouth, friend to friend. This means everyone knows at least one other person there, so nobody's feeling like a fifth wheel.

I'm married with a couple of kids. We sit around my kitchen table, and occasionally my two ankle-biters pull up a chair and comment on the game (at least until it's bed-time).

Overall, this goes a long way towards being an environment where the fairer sex can feel comfortable and enjoy the game without feeling like some kind of exhibit or exotic species. Honestly, I don't really care whether it's a table of all men or not. I wouldn't care if it was all women either. Everyone's there to have fun, and your gender doesn't really matter.

There's also a clear understanding at the table about flexibility of gender in roleplaying. I'm a GM, and that means I roleplay male and female NPCs. I have male players at the table roleplaying female characters. Two male players ended up with their characters romantically involved as part of the story. One of the women at the table played a gay male character for half a year. The point of the game is roleplaying, and it's fun to play characters that are different to you. Everyone at my table knows this, and it's also understood that explicit details of any sexual nature happen 'off-screen' in the game.

Any women at my table get treated like one of the rest of the guys. There's plenty of dirty jokes and innuendo (at least once the kids are in bed!) and the amount of eye-wateringly bad puns during each session are staggering. Some of the best material comes from our female players too.

My advice is to make sure you're running in an environment that's inclusive, try to have people know each other beforehand from somewhere, and just treat women at your table like anyone else.


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Basically just want to be in JDLPFs game now.

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